Decoupling summative and formative assessment

Clio et cetera

The following post is my seminar notes from a session I ran with Christine Counsell on why ‘summative’ and ‘formative’ assessment need to be decoupled, particularly in terms of not principally using summative marking criteria to inform teaching. I am particularly grateful to the history teaching community (particularly the so-called ‘History Pizza Assessment Group’ in Cambridge) and Daisy Christodoulou for helping me clear up my thinking on this matter. 

The current prevailing model in formative assessment is to give pupils a task (an essay, an exam question, a piece of music to play) and then to judge their competence at that task using a series of levels, often based on either task-specific or generic descriptions of competence. Having ascertained how well a pupil performed on that task, we then identify what was absent from the performance: what should have been done that was not, or what could have been done…

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